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Top Blues prospect Tarasenko heads back to the KHL

Vladimir Tarasenko

When the current lockout is over, we might not have to wait long for Vladimir Tarasenko to make his NHL debut. For now though, Tarasenko has returned to Russia.

Tarasenko will rejoin SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL, according to Andy Strickland. He had 23 goals and 47 points in 54 KHL contests last season.

The St. Louis Blues assigned Tarasenko to AHL Peoria to give him the option to stay in North America if he wanted to. However, he ultimately opted to play overseas under these circumstances.

It will provide him with the opportunity to play against many of the top hockey players in the world as locked out NHL stars take refuge in the KHL. He’ll also get to play on the same team as Ilya Kovalchuk.

Still, his decision contrasts one of the other top prospects who was projected to make the transition from Europe to North American hockey this season. The Minnesota Wild’s Mikael Granlund is expected to spend the lockout with AHL Houston after getting 51 points in 45 games with HIFK Helsinki of SM-liiga in 2011-12.